According to an US attorney, an Indian-American from the US State of Pennsylvania on Wednesday pleaded guilty to masterminding a PPE fraud scheme worthUSD 2 million.
Guaravjit Singh, 26, pleaded guilty by video conference before US District Court Judge Peter G. Sheridan to an information charging him with one count of wire fraud.
He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a USD 250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greatest. Sentencing is scheduled for February 10, 2022.
According to court documents, beginning in May 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Singh engaged in a scheme to enrich himself by fraudulently inducing 10 victims to send him over USD 2 million to obtain personal protective equipment (PPE).
He stole the money, spending it on personal expenses, and he did not provide the promised PPE to the victims, federal prosecutors said.
For instance, Singh induced victims to enter into an agreement pursuant to which Singh would be paid approximately USD 7.1 million in exchange for approximately 1.5 million medical gowns, which ultimately were to be sourced to the City of New York.
Under the terms of the agreement, the victims wired Singh, through his company GJS Solutions LLC, approximately USD 712,500, representing a 10 per cent deposit for the medical gowns.
After receiving these funds from the victims, Singh made additional misrepresentations and excuses to the victims, ensuring them that they would receive the medical gowns.
Instead of purchasing and delivering medical gowns, Singh used the funds for personal expenses, including transferring funds to his brokerage account and using the funds for online gaming and other personal expenditures, the Department of Justice said.
(With PTI Inputs)